Keepin' Things Spicy in the Kitchen

The list of ingredients in this Hot and Sour Soup may seem extensive, but the end result makes it all worthwhile.

Good manners: The noise you don't make when you're eating soup. ~Bennett Cerf

Recently a coworker of mine was heating up his lunch in the microwave and the smell was so amazing that I had to walk over and investigate. Dan told me that he and his wife had made hot and sour soup the previous weekend. This was what was making my mouth water.

A few days later my husband and I were shopping and I came upon a magazine dedicated to one pot recipes. I flipped through it and came upon a recipe for hot and sour soup. It had to be a sign! I needed to make this soup...and buy this magazine. My husband commented that I could justify just about any purchase. I suppose he has a point. But still...how could I ignore such an obvious sign?

Anyway, I did make the soup and I brought some with me to work last week. My pal Patty tried it and gave it rave reviews two days in a row. I told Dan that I made the soup and he asked me if I made dumplings to go along with it, as he had done.

What a showoff.

Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

(Most of the ingredients in this soup can be found in any supermarket, though for the chile paste and lemongrass I went to an Asian market.)


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 thin slices of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the side of a knife and cut into 1" pcs on the diagonal
  • 6 cups homemade or lower salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 can drained straw mushrooms
  • 2 plum tomatoes chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp shelled and deveined (I found Maine shrimp and used a full pound since they were small)
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 scallion coarsely chopped (white and green parts)
  • 5 leaves fresh basil chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh cilantro chopped (optional)


  • In a saucepan heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic, chile paste and red pepper flakes, stirring frequently, about one minute (the smell is delectable).
  • Add ginger and lemongrass and stir about 2 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Add broth and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn up the heat and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms and tomatoes.
  • Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes, until they just turn pink (they will continue to cook in the hot broth).
  • Remove the pan from heat and add lime juice, scallion, basil and cilantro (if using).
  • Serve immediately.


Carla February 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Sheila I love your stories behind your recipes and of course your sense f humor. Thanks for sharing!
Sheila Duggan Chabot March 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Thanks Carla! :)


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